How To Make Sticky Rice (Khoa Niaw)– Lao Recipe
In Laos they eat a huge amount of rice. The average Laotian eats 250 kilos of rice a year which works out at a hefty 600 grams of this Asian staple every day! As the foundation of any Laos meal it is served in many guises from noodles to flour but the most popular way of serving rice in Laos is in its sticky form. Khoa Niaw is always served in lidded bamboo baskets called a tip khao and is traditionally eaten with your hands buy squeezing it into a healthy lump with your thumb and palm and then dipping it in any other sauces or dips at the table.
Eating with your hands may seem a little primitive but as with any culture manners make’th the man! When eating sticky rice elders should always be offered rice first and you should always take the rice from the edge of the tip khao (basket) never from the middle. This rice in the middle is considered the best because its sweet and tender but taking this is considered the same as eating your parents heart!
In the last weeks in Loas I have been eating sticky rice on a daily basis and whether dipping it in a punchy chili dip, fresh laarp or spicy papaya salad I have come to love it. Lucky enough to see it being prepared here is simple recipe for this tasty Lao staple that is a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken.
(You can but sticky rice in most Asian super markets and you need to buy the stuff that says glutinous on the label and most likely it will come from Thailand. If you can try and get hold of a steaming basket too.)
1. Rinse the glutinous rice several times under a cold tap to remove any grit and other nastiness.
2. Soak the rice in warm water for at least 4 hours or over-night.
3. Pour the soaked rice into a bamboo steaming basket if you have one, otherwise any steamer will do and drain. Cover the rice with a lid or cloth.
4. Now add 2/3 inches of water into a saucepan or the pot of your steamer. Place the steaming basket of rice onto the saucepan, or top the top half of the steamer.
5. Heat the water to a steady boil and cook for 20 minutes and then carefully remove the steaming basket from the pot and muddle the rice by shaking the steamer or basket in your hands before steaming for a further five minutes.
6. Mix the rice thoroughly with a fork and if you have one serve in a bamboo basket as seen in the picture below.